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SALT LAKE CITY — In the Chief’s Message for October, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank talks with SLC911 Director Scott Freitag about the city’s new and improved dispatch center, which just made the move to the new Public Safety Building.

“The most important thing about this [new dispatch center] is not the bells and whistles that we have inside the new building, it’s the people who work there that are important and actually make this function,” Chief Burbank said, adding, “their care, compassion and ability to deal with any situation that walks in the door really sets them apart from anywhere else in the country.”

Eighty dispatchers, call takers and supervisors handle approximately 550,000 calls annually. And over the last year, they’ve transitioned from separate dispatch centers for police and fire/medical into a single bureau known as SLC911.

“Previously, when someone dialed 911, depending on what their emergency was, the call could be shifted off to another dispatcher. In this center,” Freitag explained, “it stays with the same person that answers the phone, decreasing the likelihood that we’ll lose a caller in a transfer or that a caller has to repeat themselves to somebody else.”

Part of the new dispatch technology acquired with the move is a next-generation system that connects SLC911 with every other public safety answering point in the Salt Lake Valley and neighboring counties. “It’s an Internet-based system, meaning that if we were to have an emergency here and we needed to evacuate, we could flip the switch and send a portion of our calls to different public safety answering points, ensuring they get answered in the event of an emergency,” Freitag said.

To watch the entire Chief’s Message video, click here.

About the “Chief’s Message”

Chief Burbank issues a monthly video message to help the public reduce its exposure to, or mitigate the effects of, crime, as well as spotlight different parts of the city’s public safety team. All “Chief’s Messages” are archived on the newsroom page of www.slcpd.com and the “Chief’s Message” playlist of www.youtube.com/saltlakecitypolice. To recommend a topic to Chief Burbank, please send an email to: askthechief@slcgov.com.

Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).